Five online commerce trends and retail predictions for marketers

Jeff Malmad

18 March 2022

We sat down with Jeff Malmad, who leads commerce at media agency, Mindshare, to get his thoughts on what agencies and brands should consider and prepare for as 2022 moves along.

1. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion driving good growth in online retail

As retailers continue to build and scale their media capabilities, it’s important for media agencies, brands and retailers to continue to work together to create a digital footprint that supports inclusive voices from diverse backgrounds, brand-appropriate environments and high impact, non-disruptive placements. As more media investment flows into digital through online shopping channels, retailers’ commitments to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) agendas will be considered by brands and agencies with equal importance to other traditional media metrics. Using content and creative as a force for good by prioritising representation is something you will see continue to be a priority this year and beyond.1

2. Customer expectations are evolving

The expectation of instant content on-demand is now transcending into everyday products on-demand, from laundry detergent to t-shirts. As customer quick access to products grows – whether streaming online, or with delivery of physical goods – customers are showing that they want on-demand experiences with quick access and without waiting in line or dealing with crowds; the expectation now is to have not just digital products, but also physical products on-demand. As we grow accustomed to seeing more and more delivery vehicles of various shapes and sizes on our streets, this ease of delivery will drive ease of product purchase.

Media will play a key role in driving this proliferation. We see ”buy now” or “add to cart” functionality coming to life in all touchpoints, from display, to social, to livestreaming, to QR codes in video assets and out of home. Immediacy is the new norm, and more retailers are deploying delivery services and infrastructure to drive this immediacy forward. The ability to have physical everyday products delivered to your door, often in less than a day, turns all media into a mechanism for impulse activation – satisfying the customer desire to have products “now”.2

3. Combining accuracy and empathy

As retailers and brands strive to deliver on customer wants and needs, the use of first-party brand insights combined with retailers’ first-party insights to drive smarter, more efficient buying will continue to accelerate. Considering what’s happening worldwide with cookie-deprecation, retailer first-party insights are becoming more important than ever. According to eMarketer and Data Axle, the majority of US Internet users want to receive personalized offers based off their past purchases – 87% of Gen Z, 88% of Millennials, 82% of Gen X and 77% of Baby Boomers.3 This combination will be even more powerful in retailers’ digital channels. Consumers want accurate messages that connect with them; that use the right combination of accuracy and empathy to help us understand why they do or don’t buy our products. In building strong connections and trust with their consumers, marketers will see better results and growth.

4. “Stream-fluencers”

Digital media owners will begin to rely more heavily on livestreaming sales events. As many social networking sites and retailers continue to experiment in this space, the success in China with livestreaming4 will eventually begin to take hold here. Recently the “Lipstick Brother”, a Chinese male beauty influencer, sold $1.9 billion in goods in one day5. There is so much upside with the power of influencers, scale of livestreaming services, and ease of purchase – the emergence of “Stream-fluencers” will take hold. Be on the lookout for livestream events from people looking to sell their own merchandise in a limited time window. Influencer reach continues to grow6–7, and brands looking for growth are partnering to reach the significant social and retail audiences that follow these influencers – it’s all a very powerful combination.

5. Everything is shoppable

The “shoppable” trend has been slowly growing for a few years, but the pandemic accelerated it greatly.2 Add-to-cart features have found their way into digital media assets, often reminding you when you may need to buy next, and consumers are now realizing how easy it is to scan a QR code. You are now seeing all of these tactics take hold across more media types. Customer wants and desires have always been there; now the tech and operational structure to connect them is becoming commonplace.

Ultimately for our industry, what all of these trends and predictions require is partnership. As the marketplace evolves, and we see a rise in new capabilities; brands, agencies and retailers must work together to create solutions that include and benefit the consumer first and foremost. Providing additive ad experiences that are relevant to customers, and allow for ease of purchase, is a win for everyone involved.

1 Nielsen. 2021. Share brand ownership by investing in content that resonates with your audience. Nielsen.
2 iab. 2020. Brand Disruption 2021: The IAB Annual Report on the Evolving Consumer Ecosystem. iab.
3 eMarketer. 2021. US Internet Users Who Want Personalization from Brands to Which They Are Loyal, by Generation. eMarketer.
4 Enberg, Jasmine. 2021. How important will livestreaming be for social commerce in 2021? eMarketer.
6 Digital Marketing Institute. 2021. 20 Surprising Influencer Marketing Statistics. Digital Marketing Institute.
7 Santora, Jacinda. 2022. Key Influencer Marketing Statistics You Need to Know for 2022. Influencer Marketing Hub.